The Book of Colors

The Book of Colors How can a year old mixed race girl who grew up in a crack house and is now pregnant be so innocent Yslea is full of contradictions though seeming both young and old innocent and wise Her spirit

  • Title: The Book of Colors
  • Author: Raymond Barfield
  • ISBN: 9781609531157
  • Page: 261
  • Format: Paperback
  • How can a 19 year old, mixed race girl who grew up in a crack house and is now pregnant be so innocent Yslea is full of contradictions, though, seeming both young and old, innocent and wise Her spirit is surprising, given all the pain she has endured, and that s the counterpoint this story offers while she sees pain and suffering all around her, Yslea overcomes in her owHow can a 19 year old, mixed race girl who grew up in a crack house and is now pregnant be so innocent Yslea is full of contradictions, though, seeming both young and old, innocent and wise Her spirit is surprising, given all the pain she has endured, and that s the counterpoint this story offers while she sees pain and suffering all around her, Yslea overcomes in her own quiet way What Yslea struggles with is expressing her thoughts And she wonders if she will have something of substance to say to her baby It s the baby growing inside her that begins to wake her up, that causes her to start thinking about things in a different way Yslea drifts into the lives of four people who occupy three dilapidated row houses along the train tracks outside of Memphis The way their three little row houses sort of leaned in toward each other and the way the paint peeled and some of the windows were covered with cardboard, the row might as easily have been empty.

    One thought on “The Book of Colors”

    1. I won this book through a GR Giveaway in exchange for an honest review.What a beautiful story! Told in spare language, Yslea slowly reasons & thinks her way to a balance in life & understanding. Along the way, she forgives, finds belief in others & herself. This story is an awakening, a maturing, a growth of spirit & mind and a healing as Yslea contemplates what she has to offer her unborn child and what it means to live a good life. Yslea is a wonderful character and she'll stay [...]

    2. Yslea is an unforgettable character. A sage soul, observant to minute details with her simple yet profound thoughts along with observations. Her views are organic lacking over analyzing, seeing with both her heart and eyes. A challenging upbringing failing to hinder her growth and optimist outlook. A young woman full of hope, faith, love and happiness. The characters are three dimensional and intricate. Yslea certainly brightened my world in an affecting manner, she taught me much as we shared o [...]

    3. I'm still in the middle of this lovely book but had to put it down to tell someone about it. It's the book I'm looking for in every book I read: a blend of realism and hopefulness. The main character, Yslea, spends her days trying to make sense of life, always hoping meaning can be found. Which, I suppose could be a definition of faith. It's a little like a younger version of the wise and introspective Precious Ramotswe (from Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) walked into a [...]

    4. This is one of those books where when someone asks you, "what is it about?" you realize there's no easy way to summarize it. Books not driven by plot are often like this. It is an exploration of feelings and thoughts; a slow, contemplative discovery of the self. When one's entire being has been focused on survival, one can't stop and ask, "what does it mean?". Yslea may be poor in material wealth, but she discovers she is rich and powerful in her ability to think for herself.I did some gymnastic [...]

    5. One unquestionable truth about the book is- it is the kind of book you pore your eyes over, dig the deeper meanings of and let the story and characters grow on you.Faintly reminiscent of The Color Purple, partly because of the narration style and partly because of the characters and situation which form the basis of our reading. Even so, this book is nothing like what you'd have read ever before.As is obvious, it is not a fast paced read, and letting the characters' lives hijack your own is the [...]

    6. Another book that would benefit from half star ratings being allowed. I was wavering between three and four stars, and in the end feel a bit harsh giving it three!The Book of Colors at first reminded me of Woody Guthrie's House of Earth with its slow paced look at life. However, where Guthrie's pace led to a dull read, Barfield's kept me interested all the way through. Yslea's introspective views of the world were interesting, comical at some points, but in the main searching for meaning within [...]

    7. I heard this local writer, whose "day job" is as a pediatric palliative oncologist, speak at our local bookstore. I was taken with his humility, depth of living and life experience and presence. So, of course, I bought the book. As a writer, I was also amazed at his answer to my question, "when do you write?". From 5-6 am every morning was his answer. This book is a beautiful development of a beautiful soul, Yslea. Homeless, 19 and pregnant, we get to see into her heart and mind.

    8. Wonderful debut novel in which the author's imagination reveals the small balance in which we live through the eyes of a pregnant teen.

    9. I finished “The Book of Colors” and immediately started reading it again. Without a doubt, the best book I’ve read in ages! I’m so glad that I heard an interview with Raymond Barfield on The State of Things. Be sure to read about his amazing life. I also just finished “Pascal’s Wager”, another by Dr. Barfield which debates the question of what it means to be human. Yslea manifested many of the traits of humanity I admire.

    10. The Book of Colors isn't for someone who can't feel empathy. For being such a short book, this isn't a short read by any means. When people asked me what this book was about, I couldn't really give them a decent explanation. This is one of those gems that isn't plot driven, but character driven. Nothing big and extravagant really happens; you're just introduced to the characters and get to see how they spend their days. Yslea is such an extraordinary, raw character and she just is. It's been a w [...]

    11. Summary: Young Yslea lived in a place unfit for a child with her mother. After a few years, her mother abandoned her. Now, Yslea is 19 and lives within the lives of four neighbors - Jimmy, Rose, Layla, Ambrosia, and the donkey Jesus. They reside in three shacks facing the train outside of Memphis, Tennessee. They took her in: Jimmy gave her a baby, and Rose gave her a home in exchange for Yslea’s promise of dressing her when she passed. Layla works for Jimmy as her daughter Ambrosia rocks on t [...]

    12. I wanted to love this book. After reading a few glorious reviews, I had to give it a try. But can a book and its prose seem self-conscious? Overly crafted? Intentional but not believable?The story is simple, the language spare. Poor and pregnant, young Yslea lives in a dilapidated row house along the railroad tracks somewhere in Memphis. A cast of unrelated characters are her misbegotten family, as she passes her days wondering about the world and worrying about the impending birth of her baby. [...]

    13. Read this novel if you enjoy fine writing and a good, people-centred story. "The Book of Colors" is a beautifully written story of a young woman from an impoverished and loveless background who finds strength and understanding as she moves into adulthood. The narrator, Yslea, finds herself acting as a caretaker to a dying elderly woman living in a shabby house by the railway tracks. Other abandoned souls live in several houses nearby, forming a neighbourhood almost by accident. As Yslea makes he [...]

    14. I'm giving it 2 stars even though I didn't finish it, because the writing really is beautiful. But the characters are uninteresting and there was nothing about the story that made me want to keep reading. I tried, I really did; I wanted to like this book. But at one point I realized I had read about 20 pages without any recollection of what had happened because my mind had wandered. I went back to re-read them and my mind wandered again. Each chapter seemed more like a discrete short story than [...]

    15. Having no idea what this book would be about, I was really pleased by page two. A few more pages and I was hooked.Ray weaves a scenerio in the lives of three black people, a child and an unborn baby, by the railroad in the hot south. Not a lot happens here, but that which does is told with understanding and no fear. The voice of the young woman, maybe 19, is well done, perhaps not perfectly if you're looking for faults, and her thinking and musing is the story told.I thoroughly enjoyed it and wa [...]

    16. I received this book for free from Goodread's giveaways for an honest review.Barfield presents us with a very endearing book. Reads like poetry. I could feel the threadbare clothes upon my skin while sitting in the southern heat. Very original and unique book. One of the rare ones that I will read again. Would have given it five stars, but I didn't care for the ending. In real life, things don't fall together, especially for the poor. Yslea had the potential to save herself in the end. I wish sh [...]

    17. At first, it was difficult to immerse myself in Yslea's voice. Somehow, though, I found myself lost in the story by the time I was halfway through and was sad when I finished. Barfield fleshes out these characters slowly, soulfully, almost without you even noticing. The story has lingered on my mind for several days-- the mark of a truly good read for me!

    18. i plucked this book off the library shelves with the thought my newly departed aunt would approve. she always meant to write a book about colors in nature. i cried when i finished this gem. it's about a young girl all alone in the world who comes to discover that the universe inside makes her enough.

    19. I loved how this book took an impoverished group of next door neighbors with numerous flaws and made you love them through the eyes of the main character, Yslea, a 19 year old pregnant young woman. Despite Yslea's desperate situation. her thoughts are original, beautiful and full of hope and faith. For this reason, all who are close to her are blessed.

    20. I won this book from a giveaway. Received it yesterday in the mail, and I picked it up, thinking I'd only read a few pages and then go about my day. It didn't happen that way. I couldn't put the book back down, and I finished it this evening. It's been a long time since I've found a story so relaxing.

    21. Liked the storyline. Hated the writing style. Told as a train of thought which often had little substance - there were sections that had a lot of words but said very little. This could have been a really good book if the author used a more direct writing style.

    22. It is easy to see that Barfield is a poet; his language is lyrical and startling. In this series of vignettes and ruminations, he lays out not only a story but a way of looking at the world and a kind of road map to peace. Beautiful and eye-opening.

    23. I won this book in a giveaway, and I have to say it was pretty good! I enjoyed the characters and the plot of the story; however, I thought it moved a bit slow and it took me a while to get through. Overall, I would recommend!

    24. It's evident that Raymond Barfield is a poet from reading his lyrical debut novel THE BOOK OF COLORS, which holds the definition of empathy.

    25. The story takes place in the mind of a very likable and strong character who is experiencing a new life growing inside her - it is hopeful and grounded in reality. Worthwhile.

    26. "I used to think the opposite of love is hate. But I was starting to think the opposite of love might be running away in the middle of things that ought to feel like they are yours."

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